I-T raids on Anurag Kashyap, Tapsee Pannu in Phantom Films tax evasion probe: 10 points
- Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik has alleged that the raids on Anurag Kashyap and Tapsee Pannu were an attempt to suppress the voice of those who speak against the central government.
The properties linked to filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, actor Tapsee Pannu and Reliance Entertainment group CEO Shibhashish Sarkar were raided by the Income Tax department on Wednesday as part of a tax evasion investigation against Phantom Films, which was dissolved in 2018.
Officials said that raids were part of a tax evasion probe against Phantom Films and its former promoters Kashyap, director-producer Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Vikas Bahl and producer-distributor Madhu Mantena.
Here are the key developments
- The Income Tax department is searching over 30 locations in Mumbai and Pune linked to the Bollywood celebrities, officials said. Some executives of celebrity and talent management company KWAN are also being raided.
- News agency PTI quoted people aware of the development to report that the raids are being conducted to collect more evidence to probe tax evasion allegations and some inter-linked transactions between the entities searched are under the I-T department’s scanner.
- Phantom Films was founded in 2011 by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena, and Vikas Bahl. In March 2015, Reliance Entertainment procured 50% stake in the firm. It was a joint venture between Madhu-Kashyap-Motwane-Bahl (50%) and Reliance Entertainment (50%).
- The production house has produced popular films including "Lootera", "Queen", "Ugly", "NH 10", "Masaan" and "Udta Punjab".
- The company was dissolved in 2018 after Vikas Bahl faced a sexual assault allegation by a former employee of Phantom.
- Kashyap later launched a new production company called 'Good Bad Films' while Motwane launched 'Andolan Films'.
- According to reports, nearly three years after Kashyap, Bahl and Motwane officially exited Phantom Films, their partner Madhu Mantena bought their shares in the production company. Phantom Films is now a joint venture between Mantena’s new firm Mad Man Ventures and Reliance Entertainment, both parties holding 50% stakes.
- Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik has alleged that the raids were an attempt to suppress the voice of those who speak against the central government. "Central agencies like ED, CBI, and Income Tax are being used to target those who take an anti-government stand and speak against the policies of the regime," he was quoted as saying by PTI. “Both (Kashyap and Pannu) were raising their voices against the Modi government,” he added.
- When asked about the link between the raids and the Bollywood celebs views against the government, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said, "This is too much...Probe agencies undertake investigations based on credible information and the matter later goes to courts as well.”
- Kashyap had visited JNU and Shaheen Bagh during the anti-CAA protests last year and has been vocal on a range of issues. Pannu, who is also known to be outspoken on several issuem, had recently posted her view on on Twitter about the Supreme Court asking a man accused of repeated rape whether he was willing to marry the woman.
(With agency inputs)